The first Islamic Bank was inaugurated during a ceremony in Kabul and in the presence of the senior government officials including Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah.
In his speech during the ceremony, Abdullah said the Islamic Banking was a branch of the banks as he welcomed the inauguration of an exclusive Islamic Bank in the country
He said the Islamic Banking is a good experience in the world and fortunately Afghanistan is also experiencing the services of the Islamic Banking.
However, he insisted that the success of the Islamic Banking has links with generosity of the bank employees to provide better services, good cooperation of the State and government’s support to pave the way for the operations of such a bank.
Abdullah expressed hopes that the first Islamic Bank would maintain the confidence of the people as he pointed towards the services of the Azizi and Bakhtar Banks.
He said to maintain and preserve the confidence of the people is a major investment and the Islamic Bank should do its best to keep the confidence of the people.
The Chief Executive said the government is committed to support the private sector in all situations and conditions as he emphasized that the days are gone when the governments were considering the private sector as their competitors.
He said the people expect to see the results of the promises being made and expressed hopes that the inauguration of the bank will help to bolster the banking, trade, production, and economic sectors of the country.
Afghan carpet exporters on Sunday said that traders signed a number of contracts with Chinese businesses after attending the Domotex carpet and rugs expo in Shanghai in China recently.
They said that the new contracts would help Afghan carpet businessmen export thousands of meters of rugs and carpets to the Chinese market.
The exporters called on the Afghan government to pave the way for them to increase carpet exports to China.
“We signed long term contracts for three years, these contracts will help every company export thousands of meters of carpet to China every three months,” said Nisar Ahmad Hussaini, deputy head of Kabul Carpet Production and Export Association.
Carpet exporters meanwhile said that the increase in trade of carpets to China would contribute to the national economy.
“If the government and the private sector manage to create a permanent market for carpets in China or the Chinese government helps us sell our carpets on Chinese markets, this will help us to boost our carpet industry,” said carpet exporter Hamid Nazari.
The business community has also urged the Afghan government to enter into comprehensive dialogue with Chinese officials to lower customs tariffs on Afghan carpets.
The Afghan and UAE officials inaugurate a major township built in Kabul city with the financial support of the UAE government.
A ceremony was organized to inaugurate the major township, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zaid Al-Nahyan or the Emirates Township, in Kabul city on Sunday.
Several key officials from the two countries including President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani were present during the inauguration of the township.
In his speech at the inauguration ceremony, the Minister of Urban Development and Housing, Syed Sadat Mansoor Naderi, thanked the UAE officials for their sincere support to build the township and called a symbol of the friendship of the two countries.
Minister Naderi further added that the government of national unity is committed to build shelters for the residents of the country and work is underway on several other key and major plans.
He said the foundation of the township was laid during the government of the former President Hamid Karzai and was due to be completed over a period of one year.
However, he said the work was not completed and was halted due to some issues but the new leadership of the ministry managed to resume the work of the project which subsequently resulted into its completion and is being inaugurated yesterday.
According to Minister Naderi, the township consists of 3330 apartments as well as some key facilities including a dedicated substation, proper walk sides, water meters, and etc.
In the meantime, the UAE officials reaffirmed their commitment to support Afghanistan in different sectors in a bid to ensure peace and stability in the country.
In his speech during the ceremony, President Ghani thanked the government of UAE for their support to build the township and called for more cooperation between the two countries on various levels, particularly to boost the private sector.
A joint economic forum between Afghanistan and Turkey is being planned, possibly for May, said Turkey’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Fatih Metin.
According to him, the plan is for discussions to be held on the development of commercial, investment and transit relations between the two countries.
Metin said that Turkey hopes to discuss the increase in trade volume exchange between the two countries.
He said delegates that will attend the forum will also focus on the development of trade and transit, investment opportunities for both Turks and Afghans, and the creation of trade facilities between Afghanistan and Turkey.
“One of the important issues to be discussed at this joint meeting is the growing volume of trade between Afghanistan and Turkey; and we are also working on developing our trade and transit relations,” said Metin.
Metin also said many Turkish companies are interested in investing in Afghanistan. He said Turkey supported them in this and has encouraged them to invest in the energy sector in Afghanistan.
“Our investors are interested in investing in solar energy and solar power generation in Afghanistan; in all sectors to produce clean energy, and we support them,” said Metin.
Meanwhile, officials from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy and Water said it is important to attract foreign investment in the energy sector in the country. Officials said there are major opportunities in this sector in Afghanistan.
“We have to use our resources and a very good move has been made; while there is a problem with the reduction of water among these resources, we need to use the water that we have,” said Sultan Mahmood Mahmoodi General Director of Water Management.
Based on information provided by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the volume of trade between Afghanistan and Turkey has dropped from about $300 million USD to just over $100 million USD in the past few years - despite the development of cooperation between Afghanistan and Turkey in recent years.
The officials in the chamber say that, considering the current trade and transit relations between Afghanistan and Turkey, the volume of trade between the two countries is likely to increase several times in the coming years.
Ministry of Mines and Petroleum on Monday said they have terminated the extraction contract of Herat’s Ghoryan salt mine signed with a private company two months ago following the discovery of minerals including lithium and uranium.
The spokesman for the ministry of mines Abdul Qadir Mutfi said their recent studies showed that these minerals are present at the mine. As such they have terminated the contract with the contractor, he said.
Ghoryan salt mine is the only mining contract to have been signed by the National Unity Government (NUG).
“This was a small contract and was contracted as a pilot extraction, but we are trying to ensure the country's mines are extracted based on the country's needs,” Mutfi said.
The contractors were not however happy about the new development and said it took them two years and a lot of money to secure the contract.
Nasir Ahmad Tahiri, the head of the contracting company, said in addition to preliminary investments made in the mine, they have had to pay money to meet the conditions of the contract.
According to Tahiri, the termination of the contract means a huge financial loss to them.
“The economic council and mining ministry worked on this mine for two years. It should be asked why the ministry of mines did not assess the mine to find out if there was salt or something else (before awarding the contract),” said Tahiri.
“This shows that government does not have the capacity to manage the mines. This was a small contract and they signed after a few years, but now they say it has been terminated,” Zaman Hashimi, a mining expert said.
Mutfi said however they will reimburse the company for the money paid out.
Based on the contract, the company had an obligation to invest up to $400,000 USD in the mine and to pay 1,065 AFN to government for every ton of salt extracted.
The contract said the company would have extracted up to 25,000 tons of salt annually.
The Afghan government in the weekly meeting of the National Procurement Commission has approved ten new contracts having a total value of around 618 million Afghanis, the Office of the President, ARG Palace said Monday.
The contracts were approved during the meeting of the National Procurement Commission chaired by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani.
According to ARG Palace, eleven contracts were presented during the meeting for the review, out of which, ten of them were approved for the execution.
The contracts approved during the meeting include two contracts for the procurement of 6750 tons of concentrated animal foot items for Badghis, Ghor, and Jawzjan agriculture directorates, drinking water for the ministry of defense, and repair of generator sets of the ministry of defense.
Other contracts approved during the meeting include microwave contract for 113 sites related to the ministry of interior, fiber optic extension for 14 sites of the ministry of interior, and extension of fiber optic for 12 sites of the Afghan national police.
The National Procurement Commission also approved contract for the purchase of food items (grains) for the directorate of prisons, and procurement of LPG gas for the ministry of interior.
Residents of Masjid-i-Sabz village in Sancharak district of northern Sar-i-Pul province claim the Taliban have been preventing them from cultivating crops on their around 30,000 hectares of land because they support the government.
Around 2,000 families live in Masjid-i-Sabz village and they have been staging an uprising against the rebels in self-defense over the past four years.
The residents say the Taliban have control over areas nearby and they do not allow Masjid-i-Sabz residents to cultivate their land.
Samaruddin, a resident of the village, said the Taliban used to open fire on individuals who try to go near the farms. He said recently the Taliban shot dead a man grazing cows in his land.
“We have rendered many sacrifices for the government, but we have been forgotten. Now we cannot go to our lands, if the situation persists, the residents of Masjd-i-Sabz would face famine and would leave the area,” he said.
Provincial Council Member Asadullah Khurram, who also hails from Masjid-i-Sabz area, confirmed the situation and warned if the government did not pay attention to the issue, the villagers would be left with no option but to migrate elsewhere or die of hunger.
Deputy Governor Abdul Malek Azemi also acknowledged the grievances of the Masjid-i-Sabz residents and added: “The residents of the area support the government, but the government is silent about their situation.”
He said the provincial government was trying to aid the residents by attacking the Taliban.
Pajhwok attempted to seek Taliban’s view on the issue but the group could not be contacted.
A Balkh woman has started up her own factory, providing work opportunities to hundreds of other women, Tolonews reported.
Saltanat Faryabi, 45, said she invested 50,000 AFN to set up her carpet weaving, embroidery, tailoring and handicrafts factory.
“I have invested 50,000 Afghanis, I have eight machines, a carpet weaving workshop,” said the Mazar-e-Sharif based businesswoman.
According to her, she has brought together more than 700 women who are familiar with carpet weaving, tailoring, embroidery and handicrafts and provides them with job opportunities.
Faryabi said although she faces many challenges, she hopes to continue expanding her business and providing more opportunities for poor women. She also said she has set up a literacy school.
“Literacy courses, and kindergartens are also considered; because the women who work here mostly have babies,” Faryabi said.
Karima, one of the women working with Faryabi returned from Pakistan two years ago as a return refugee and faces extreme hardships, she said.
According to her, her husband works but his salary does not cover their expenses. She said she is very happy to have found work with Faryabi.
“I have three children. I have a yard to rent also. I want to help my husband by working here," said Karima.
Faryabi said most of the women have either been displaced – through the war in northern provinces - or are return refugees.
Nadia another woman said:” We need to work to make money to cover our daily expenses.”
These women are pleased that they have been provided with jobs and say they are trying to increase their production and show their abilities in the economic sector.
In response to grower concerns, a campaign for eradication of locusts attacking crops has kicked off in northern Samangan province, an official said on Tuesday.
Gulabuddin Ghayasi, plant protection manager at the agriculture and livestock department, told Pajhwok Afghan News the campaign had been launched in all parts of the province under threat.
Ghayasi said around 10,000 hectares of farmlands possibly infected would be sprayed with insecticide. He added 5,000 liters of insecticide procured by the department would be sprayed by five teams each having 10 members.
The drive would be implemented in Taikhonak, Rubatak, Manqutan, Achqadoq, Dasht Khairabad, TangiAjrim, Dasht Larzaghan, LailiSai, Omly and Gawa areas of Hazrat Sultan district and parts of Khuram Sarbagh and Dara-i-Sauf Payeen.
He said the locusts appeared after the weather got warm and that was why the agriculture department had initiated the campaign. If the drive was not carried out, the pests would soon spread to all farms, he warned.
Shah Mohammad, 53, a resident of the Abdul Shakoor area of Aibak, said the locusts surfaced about 10 days ago. They are currently feeding on pastures.
He had cultivated 700 kilograms of wheat on 50 acres of rain-fed land. The grasshoppers, if not eliminated, would destroy all his farms, the grower feared, calling for timely action.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, accompanied by a number of ministers, arrived in southeastern Khost province on Monday morning.
Ghani inaugurated a newly-built runway and laid the foundation stone of buildings for fire tinder, radar and some roads inside the airport.
According to a press release published by the presidential palace, the president also launched work on electricity distribution network to 13,000 families.
Meanwhile, spokesman for the provincial governor, Talib Mangal, told Pajhwok Afghan News the projects accounted for one billion and seven million Afghanis.
President Ghani also had meetings with security officials, university lecturers, schools’ teachers and women’s representatives.
Speaking to security officials the president urged them to get ready for securing upcoming parliamentary elections.